Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Exterior Window Trim, Part 2

Yesterday (Sunday) we continued work on the exterior trim - specifically the windows.

I already had the pieces cut, and stained/sealed.  We still needed to bevel edges for rain run off (and then stain/seal the newly exposed edges) before we were ready for install.

The window trim components as designed for the Gifford windows* are:

1x6" across the top of the window
1x6" vertically on sides of the window
2x2" below the window as a window sill
1x3' below the sill

All of my exterior trim is rough cedar.  I used a dark brown cedar for my sill as an accent color piece that matches my window trim and roof color. 

We started by beveling the sill to slant downwards for rain run off.  We first tried a 45 degree angle and it was too steep.  Then we tried 221/5 degree and I still didn't really like the look of that - plus you are reducing the surface touching the house where you can put in screws to affix the trim to the house.  Then we tried and 11 degree cut and I liked that - so that's what I'm using for all of my beveled edges.

Beveling the window sill piece
Bevel the bottom edge of the 2x2 window sill.
Bevel the top edge of the 1x3 to accept the angle of sill.
Bevel the bottom of the vertical 1x6 side pieces so they match the sill.
Bevel the top of the 1x6 over the window piece for rain run off.

Beveling 1x6" (for horizontal top of big window)
Lots of beveling!  We spent a fair amount of time arriving at the correct bevel angle, and also holding the trim pieces up to be sure we were assembling things correctly and in the logical order.  I had (foolishly) thought the trim would just zip, zip and go up, but no, we only got one window done yesterday.  But as with the windows, now that we have all the parts figured out, and all the measurements done, the rest will go considerably faster.

If you look closely at the last photo of this entry you can see window fasteners.  I used Stainless Steel Star-Drive Wood Screws by The Hillman Group, available at Lowe's.  (You can also order a similar product from Amazon.  Home Depot does not carry them; nor do Do It Best stores - well at least not in my area - Home Depot in LA carries them.) I used the 3" length to affix the 2x2"s and I think I used 2" (?) for the remainder of the trim.  Stainless steel will ensure that they will not rust and I won't have rust drip marks down my cedar over time.  And the low profile head makes them a great choice for finish work. We did pre-drill holes before sinking the screws.

You can countersink them and putty the holes, but I'm choosing to leave my exposed, and to be aware of fastener placement so that they cater to my OCD.

But the one we did get done looks GREAT!!  (I still need to do a bit of caulking.)  I'm really happy with it:

Look at that smile plastered on my face! And I took the window labels off.  : )
Working on the house continues to be my greatest joy - I am sooo insanely happy when I am out there.  And the work is satisfying.  Every day I learn something new, and I also continue to use skills that I've learned on prior days.  I have more experience with framing and rough construction than I do finish work, so I am learning a lot - John is even learning things!  We're having a ton of fun with it though, and we spend an inordinate amount of time standing back and admiring our work.  LOL

In the plumbing department, I talked with Daniel a few nights ago and he answered more of my questions and I hung up feeling empowered - I can totally do the plumbing now.  It is SUCH a relief. Yesterday I got under the trailer and measured the spacing between the trailer joists where the tanks will live, so now I can get quotes on time and pricing for having those made.  YES!  Onward!

I am going to be out of pocket now for a few days, so no construction for me this week.  : (  It's hard to walk away from it.

* With the exception of the loft/gable windows

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Exterior Window Trim

Yesterday after I got the house cleaned out and ready for the Open House, I had time left in my day to cut my exterior window trim.  It went faster than I expected.

And then today my friend Renee came out and helped with staining and sealing it with Penofin:

Isn't her shirt cute?  LOL  We stopped at Garland Road Thrift Store (thrift store love) and bought her a $2.00 men's shirt because she didn't have any grubby clothes to wear - staining and all.  But then we found such a great shirt, that she was really liking it a little too much and didn't want to get stain on it!  It was really funny...

And then John came out, and we figured out the bevel cuts for the 2x2" that becomes the window sill; you want to cut it so that it sits at a downward angle so that rain will run off the window sill.  My table saw is new, and a different brand that my old one was, and we actually had to read the manual to figure out all the widget-y features.  Renee apparently found our antics self education entertaining - there was a lot of laughing coming from the stain department while we jockeyed around the saw...

It's a great saw, though - it's the DeWalt portable job site table saw.

Ripping a 1"x6" into 1"x3"s
Cutting the bevel edge (I look really serious here but just moments before I was doubled over, laughing)

Tomorrow I have a little bit more staining/sealing to do, and then we can install the window trim!  I'm super excited - it's going to transform the look of the house AGAIN.

At days' end, here is the Sunday crew:

John & Renee
 As John says, he's been sucked into the tiny house vortex - I do believe that today Renee firmly landed in it as well - she wants to come back & work some other days!  It really is an insane amount of fun... I'm really grateful for good friends and so much laughing!  It's good for the soul.

Wisdom & Wine

The Wisdom & Wine night was fun!  A good turnout - maybe about 30 people.  Everyone got up and did a 60 second intro of themselves and a bit of wisdom, and then a handful of people did a 5 minute talk about their journey of change the the wisdom they've learned along the way.  My little talk went all right - I'm slowly getting a tiny bit better at speaking in front of a group...  I'll post the text of what I spoke about on my website when it launches next month.

I had fun preparing my house for my first Open House.  I wrote some narratives about the house, and tried to cover the usual FAQs and then did a bit about MAGIC Camp, and also posted a few photos from MAGIC Camp and of the interior of the house from Four Lights' website.

It was a fun exercise for me to go through, remembering what all MY frequently asked questions about tiny houses used to be.  But as Nina pointed out, you can never give enough information - people always want more.  It was fun but at the same time weird to be preparing for an Open House - I had to pinch myself - it seems crazy that I'm to the stage that I have things to "show & tell."

Unfortunately I had to leave before people started going into the house - the program was running a bit behind schedule and I had someplace else I had to be - but Dr. Harkness said everyone loved walking through it and that they actually stayed after dark!   I wish I had been there, but I'm really glad to hear that people enjoyed it.

A big thank you to Amy for coming with me to W&W night - she's a good friend.  As usual, we met some really amazing people at the event!  Dr. Harkness has a way of bringing interesting folks together into one room.

Friday, October 25, 2013

I'm Official!

Well, maybe not, but I at least have the appearance of being official!

I never thought I would actually lay eyes on it - you can't believe how many phone calls I had to make to my trailer company to extract this - they did a number of screw ups.  They told me it would take "no longer than 3 weeks" and that was in JUNE.  Yeah.  It's OCTOBER.  But!  I have it.  And thanks in no small part to Daniel, who rescued it from being returned to the State of CA by his housemates (it was mistakenly shipped in my name to his address.)

And when I unwrapped it from the mail today, this also fell out of the package:

I can't imagine why Daniel thought I could use that!  LOL  Me?  Stressed?  Just because my apartment lease expires in 40 days??  HA.  La la la la la

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Video Tour of Dee Williams' Tiny House

This is great piece by Dee Williams of PAD (Portland Alternative Dwellings.)  She sums it all up so nicely.


Front Steps & Some Wisdom

My career transition coach, Dr. Helen Harkness at Career Design Associates is having an event on Saturday afternoon called "Wisdom and Wine Open House."  (Well, she's calling it a "Special Wisdom Event" but she's serving wine & cheese, so I've renamed it..lol)

JOIN US this Saturday for an Open House     
Date: Saturday, October 26th

Time: 4 to 6 pm

Location: Career Design Office, 2818 South Country Club Road, Garland, TX 75043

RSVP Requested: Email Options@Career-Design.com

This event is Open to the Public at No Charge. This open house is a celebration of "Work Life Wisdom", my chapter in the book Words of Wisdom co-authored by Dr. John Gray, Brian Tracy and others.   

If you have any books or products to sell, etc... bring them with you. We have asked a few individuals to spend five minutes each to share their wisdom with all of us.

Be ready to introduce yourself with your one minute elevator pitch! 

Do read our "Wisdom Blog Post" which includes the countless bits of wisdom earlier shared by CDA clients. This was part of my research for my "Work Life Wisdom" chapter and inspired this Wisdom Open House Event.

RSVP Now, so we can have enough wine and cheese for all! "Share" the word with your friends! We would enjoy meeting them.

Email Options@Career-Design.com with questions. 

Dr. Helen Harkness

When I got the email invitation, I RSVP'd "yes" - I always try to attend any event she sponsors because I meet such a broad mix of people; I never know who might be there!  A few minutes later, however, I got a follow up email from Dr. Harkness asking me to be one of the individuals who speaks on wisdom for 5 minutes instead of 1 minute.  Me?  Wisdom?  I crawfished.  But in the end?  I'm doing it. (She has this way about her that makes it hard to say no...)  

But the point of telling you all of that is to say that Dr. Harkness wants ME to open MY house to folks so that they can see what I'm doing with my life.  And as a result, I thought steps to get into the house might not be a bad thing.  I know - that was a really long story to get to the point of this post: the tiniest set of steps you've ever seen...


I don't know what's up with my Vanna moves.  Weirdo.
I intentionally made the design very small and very utilitarian; they need to be easily stowed when I travel, and not too heavy to move single handedly.  Here's the end result:

They will blend in better when they are stained darker.  The top of the top step wedges nicely under the ramp bars on the trailer, sort of locking the steps in place.

More weird Vanna moves...
And then of course we had to get action shots of me trying them out - because everything that happens in or near my house these days is happening for the first time, and well, must be documented.  : )

Honestly, those three photos are almost too dorky to even post here, but at this point in the blog I'm pretty sure I have no shame. So there they are.  lol  If you're local and want to attend - c'mon down - get some wisdom & some wine, and try out my new front steps!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Window 7 Plus a Gable Window

Today was a GOOD DAY - John and I got the bathroom window (window 7) installed and we got the gable window in.  The only window left is the loft window, which is the stained glass window, and David is still designing it, so it isn't ready.  It's a great feeling to be (nearly) done with windows!  I feel like a professional window installer LOL (although John points out that as soon as I was hired to install on a house with a second floor I would quit... lol  Yeah, he's probably right.)

My friend Kelley told me my part time construction job is giving me a nice tan - bonus!  Unfortunately I also feel like I am somehow gaining weight!  Must be the job site food truck...

Here's window 7 installed!

We didn't beat our previous time of 1:12.  : (

Side "B" done!
That was our last casement window!  All that remained was the gable awning window, and the loft awning window.

The gable window was a bit more challenging because we had to navigate the tongue of the trailer and be careful not to break the big window that was just below the gable.  Eeek.

I drilled the holes in the corners from the inside of the house.  Then we needed to draw lines to connect the holes so we knew where to cut.

We tried a few different ladder placement locations. First we leaned the ladder right against the house but realized that it was leaning exactly where we needed to cut out the window.  Fail.

Then we put a plank across the purlins and leaned the ladder against the plank.  The tops of the purlins were draped with towels to protect them.  That worked briefly while I drew 2 of the 4 cut lines...

Drawing the cut lines

Drawing the lines

...but then the board started to tilt.  We aborted.

Next we switched out the boards - put a narrower one across the purlins.  That worked better.

Cutting the vertical lines...
 Then for the horizontal lines...

Cutting the bottom horizontal line...
Then the top one...

Cleaning up the corners with the jigaw
Then we flashed, dry fit the window, leveled, squared, screwed, leveled & squared again, caulked, screwed, caulked, screwed, caulked, screwed, caulked, screwed and flashed.  WHEW.

We didn't time this one!

View from the inside

And now until the stained glass loft window is done?  The window chapter is OVER!  Another hurdle - YAY!!  It's such a great feeling of accomplishment;  I feel like I've mastered windows.   Next up are the front steps and the loft ladder.  I'm working on plumbing behind the scenes, I promise.  : )

Friday, October 18, 2013

Windows Four, Five & Six

We are window ninjas.  Okay, well maybe we aren't - but at a minimum John is a circular saw ninja - but we ARE getting really good at this whole window installation gig!

Here's the review of our day today.

I've gotten very comfortable with the vertical plunge cuts for the sides of the window openings, but the horizontal ones are still challenging for me.  I can do the bottom one, but it's really awkward - partly saw weight, and partly well - it's just a awkward cut.  I did it on the earlier windows, but now that we are timing ourselves on window installation, John has generously taken over the bottom horizontal cut.  Here he is cutting the bottom of the opening for window #4. 

When the opening was done, we dry fitted the window and found we needed to open it up a bit more on the bottom.  John is doing that here - an even trickier cut, since only half of the saw shoe has a place to rest:


To challenge ourselves, we timed all each window installations today.  

Window #4: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Looking so awesome!!
After this window we had to do a Home Depot dash - we didn't have enough screws for the next window, and we could tell we would need more flashing and caulk.  We laughed after we got in the truck and looked at each other - we had matching bibs on.  We got a LOT of looks in Home Depot!  John wished for a goat on a rope to walk with us, and we joked about going to lawn & garden for wheelbarrow races.  I mean - people were STARING.  I guess bibs aren't as common as I thought they were... lol  As per normal I laughed my way through Home Depot - I love that place....  And in the truck on the way back to the house, I reflected on how HAPPY I am spending my day building.  If I could do this all day every day...  I would be giddy.

On the way back we drove past a house with this Halloween decor in the yard:

I LOVE Halloween.  I used to go all out with decorations in my yard at my Patricia house.  But for some reason, these girls are soooo creepy!  I don't know what it is.  We think it must be based on a movie, but we can't figure out what movie.  I keep saying Children of the Corn, but I don't have a good reason for that.  The photo doesn't really do them justice... but just trust me: creepy.

And then we took our lunch break.  John introduced me to a new addictive food - saltines that are coated in Ranch dressing mix and red pepper flakes.  OMG!  You mix Canola oil, the dressing powder and pepper flakes up, and pour it over saltine crackers in a Ziploc and shake.  I am definitely making them for the Halloween camping trip!  I'm not sure how I've never heard of them... but I ate far too many of them... that I know.  (And then he sent the leftovers home with me!  Dangerous.)

On to window number 5!  One technique improvement we did for today is buy an 8" long drill bit so that when we drill a hole in each corner we can get all the way into the corner without the body of the drill getting in the way and forcing an angled hole.  It's making our cut lines more accurate.  We also learned that it's helpful to cut away some of the bulky flashing in the corners - the saw blade binds up in it - and we are re-flashing anyway.  It's fun to see what messages we reveal as we cut it away - it's like opening fortune cookies.  It reminds me how every surface of my house got covered with love and good intentions at MAGIC Camp:

Again we dry fitted and needed to do a little clean up.  The saw ninja returned:

Here's a technique John came up with for getting nice square corners with the flashing.  He uses a wood block to crease it into the corners:

When it's time for screwing the window into place, I'm doing the screwing and John hands me the screws - there are about 35-40 screws per window.  Uff da!  Here's his technique for that - I've been making up names that are take offs of Edward Scissorhands...

And - completion!

Window #5:  1 hour, 44 minutes
We can't figure out how we only shaved 6 minutes off our time - a disappointment. (We may be taking too much time to admire our work.. lol)  Onward!

Window #6 - fewer photos are being taken now, because it's all repetitive work, window to window.  Plus, we're timing ourselves - no time for photos!

Window #6: 1 hour, 12 minutes
Our best time yet!

We really wanted to get one more in today, but our trip to Home Depot cut us short on time.  : (

Here's the house now - end of day:

I can't even stand it - so cute!

And the interior view:

It's looking really fantastic inside!  It really was just the perfect day.  I had a smile plastered across my face all day long.

I'm thinking I might have to sleep in the house tomorrow night... I'll see how my day goes... it's tempting... My dog, a sleeping bag, some wine... sounds pretty spectacular to me...

Tonight I MUST get on my yoga mat to stretch out the kinks - and try to ignore those saltines in the Ziploc that are taunting me from the kitchen... I can't believe he sent those home with me...